Acquiring a new phone system can be a confusing mess. Our telecommunications implementation specialist, Brenda Schares, takes the confusion out of the process for our customers.
Many of our customers (maybe even you!) don’t know that we offer business phone systems -- including voice over IP.
I’d like to introduce you to our own “Phone Lady.”
I am a telecommunications implementation specialist. I have been with Advanced Systems for 3 years in April, when the company I worked for, Schmitt Telecom Partners, was acquired by Advanced Systems. I’ve been in the telecommunications industry for 23 years working. During those years, I’ve worked for Digital Communications of Iowa, McLeod USA, and Intertel prior to Schmitt Telecom Partners.
Throughout the years in this ever-changing industry a few things have stayed the same:
- I thoroughly enjoy working with an exceptional team that really cares about our customers
- My number one goal is to provide the best possible service to everyone I meet
Q: What do you do and what do you love about it?
I do a little bit of everything around here. My main focus is customer service. I love getting to know my customers and potential customers. I’m often referred to as the “Phone Lady” as I am out and about in the community. I am the main contact throughout the install process -- gathering the information we need to make your new telecommunications system run more efficiently. I am the trainer to make sure you understand how everything works and what is available for features and functionality. I am also the one that you will call with any questions or concerns you have about your new telecommunications system.
Q: Describe yourself using 3 words only:
Genuine, Caring, Helpful
Q: What are you proudest of, personally and/or professionally?
Being able to juggle my personal and professional life. My husband and I have raised 3 wonderful kids who we have passed on our values to that hard work pays off, giving of yourself makes others happy but makes you complete, and value your faith.
Professionally, I have always been proud that I am able to be flexible, take the time to do things right the first time, and to genuinely want what’s best for our customers.
Q: What is the most common customer misconception about today’s business phone systems?
If you upgrade to VOIP you no longer pay for long distance. Although it is true in certain cases, e.g., if you are upgrading to a hosted system or if you have remote IP phones (you no longer pay for long distance call between the remote IP phone and the main office).
Q: Best advice for someone looking for a VoIP phone system (other than talking to you!)?
Get referrals. Talk to other professionals in your business or community and ask what they have and if they are happy with the capability of the systems. More importantly, are they happy with the service that they are provided?
Q: Favorite customer success story?
The City of Waterloo is one of our largest customers with over 400 phones and several department buildings throughout the city. This was challenging due to the size and the complexity of the solution we were offering. There were a lot of moving parts but in the end we have a happy customer😊
Q: What do you say to someone who “just wants to buy a phone system”?
I like to back up to a starting point by asking what they have today. What do they like about the system? What frustrations do they have with it? Then making sure they understand what the standard features are when purchasing a new Avaya system versus the capabilities that the system has with the addition of more licenses, software, or equipment. The possibilities are endless with third-party dev connect partners that have certified their product with Avaya.
Q: Most common mistake offices make when acquiring a new phone system?
When you are buying a new phone system, all the bells and whistles don’t matter if you do not know how to use them. That is why we think it is so important to have training and make customized user guides for each customer. We have full-time customer service reps and technicians to make sure your transition and your every day experience thereafter is a positive one. We offer service on a 24/7 basis.
When the company you choose does not understand your goal in upgrading your new system; it’s all too easy to get lost in the huge variety of features, functionality (some of which require additional licenses), software, or equipment. That is why we do our best to truly understand what your needs are and not sell you something that you do not need. At the same time, we keep your future needs in mind so you’re never locked into a system that won’t grow with you.
Q: What movie, no matter how many times you've seen it, do you have to watch when it's on?
There are a lot of movies that I could watch maybe once a year. I don’t think there is a movie that I would want to watch several times within a year.
Q: Summer or Winter?
That is a no brainer…. Summer. Although snow can be beautiful once or twice a year, I can live without the freezing cold, ice, and mess that it causes.
Q: Favorite Color?
Green. 😊 And I am not even Irish!
Q: What do you do for fun?
I would have said being in my kitchen cooking and baking, but now I have a new grandson and nothing beats spending time with him!
Q: Last book read and book on your nightstand now?
Unfortunately, I do not take the time to read much, always staying busy doing other things. The last book I read was Broken Brain, Fortified Faith by Virginia Pillars and it was fantastic, a real tear jerker!
Q: Top 3 albums?
I love all kinds of music.